High-school athletes accused of disturbing waterboard hazing


A high school in Casper, Wyoming, has been rocked by allegations that members of its wrestling team held down and waterboarded a freshman wrestler in the team’s locker room.

The incident allegedly took place Jan. 3 following the team’s practice at Kelly Walsh High School.

Sources told the Casper Star-Tribune that the victim had been teased by some other members of the wrestling team and responded “by winking at them.” One of the wrestlers allegedly gathered some other members of the team and made plans to confront the victim in the locker room.

The victim claims at least three wrestlers grabbed him when he entered the locker room.

The paper cites one of its sources as saying that as the victim tried to escape, the attackers “yanked him back, and they threw him on a bench. One kid held his legs, two other kids held his arms, they put a towel over his head, and one kid said, ‘Let’s p— in his mouth.’”

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The attackers then allegedly poured water over the victim’s mouth and nose.

The victim began to choke, so the attackers released him.

The sources also claimed the waterboarding was recorded on Snapchat, but the newspaper’s report did not mention if the recording of the incident had been sent to other Snapchat users.

The Natrona County School District has not commented on the alleged waterboarding incident, citing privacy restraints of the victim and the alleged attackers. The district would only say it has investigated an incident involving “a violation of the student code of conduct.”

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“Upon receiving information regarding the incident, an investigation was immediately conducted. As a result of the investigation, behavioral and student code of conduct disciplinary consequences were implemented,” a district spokesperson said in a statement last week.

The school’s wrestling coach, Travis Peak, told the newspaper he was out of town the day of the alleged attack. The newspaper received a copy of an email Peak sent to the victim’s family in which he apologized for the incident.

“I’m very sorry that this incident has rocked your family so hard and completely changed your mind about the program,” Peak wrote. “ … I also want you to know that we are doing our best to raise good young men and not just wrestlers. We value character far above anything else. This is a huge setback for ALL of these young men.”

While the school has not commented on what disciplinary actions were taken, the sources told the paper the alleged attackers were briefly suspended from school and held out of at least two wrestling tournaments.

The victim and his family also met with police about the incident. Sgt. Scott Jones of the Casper Police Department told the Star-Tribune that law enforcement had investigated a recent incident of bullying or hazing at Kelly Walsh and had concluded that a crime had occurred, but he would not specify if the incident was the alleged waterboarding.

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Jones said the results of the department’s investigation were sent to the local district attorney’s office.

The victim has withdrawn from the school. His family had already made plans to move from the Casper area prior to the alleged attack, and the student had originally planned to remain in school until the wrestling season was complete.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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